Flashback Friday: ReMOOOve the Barricades!

Clarence has been unearthing old footage from the Streetfilms vault this summer in preparation for Transportation Alternatives’ 40th anniversary bash. This week’s installment takes us back to the end of 1997, when the Giuliani administration and NYPD erected pedestrian barricades in Midtown, preventing people from crossing major avenues to make way for turning traffic. TA’s protest got covered on all seven local newscasts, but Giuliani went ahead and made the barricades permanent. They remain to this day.

Before you hit play, guess which network led off its segment by proclaiming that “jaywalking is dangerous, slows down ambulances, and is downright rude.” Hint: It’s kind of surprising.

  • Eric McClure

    NY1’s Debby Feyerick with the original “Mobile1” years before Tony Aiello turned the key on CBS2’s “Mobile2.”

  • Miles Bader

    Perhaps some convenient steps could be built to make it easier to cross the barriers…

    [They put up some obviously stupid pedestrian barriers on a newly constructed road near where I live, even downright stupid as there’s lots of pedestrian traffic and little motor traffic. Pedestrians have worked around this in a fairly simple manner: huge numbers of them just walk in the street instead… (Drivers are no doubt thrilled by the barriers now…)]

  • Daphna

    I hate pedestrian fences everyplace that they exist. I don’t like the fences on the Manhattan side of the Queensboro Bridge and on the Brooklyn side of the Manhattan Bridge; those fences seek to make pedestrians walk a full block away from where they would prefer to exit.

    On the west side of 8th Avenue between 42nd and 43rd Street the pedestrian fence is particularly stupid and counterproductive because the curbside lane (on the other side of the fence) is now a painted tan pedestrian area; no pedestrians can access it because the fence at the edge of the sidewalk blocks them from the re-claimed road space that’s dedicated to them. The only consolation about this fence is that is serves as a badly needed bike rack since there are not enough on that block.

    Maybe some people with angle grinders, could go out looking official in safety vests and all, and just cut off those fences!!!!

  • Anonymous

    Hmm if pedestrians needed barricades to stop them from walking in front of traffic in the days before smartphones what the heck do we need now? *prepares to get flamed*

  • Daphna

    Even when on their smart phones, pedestrians look. The problem is that motorists want to proceed at high rates of speed and do not want to have to yield or slow down; they do not want pedestrians in the way of their perceived right of way and interfering with their perceived right to proceed at high speed. If motorists proceeded slowly and cautiously, and were paying full attention to their surroundings, pedestrians fences would not be needed.

    I got honked at the other day by a UPS driver. I was walking and on my smart phone but I looked before entering the crosswalk. The driver of the illegally parked UPS truck wanted to pull out just after I entered the crosswalk and did not want to have to wait for me to cross but instead wanted me to back up and yield to him. He honked loudly and bullied me by starting to move into where I was standing in the crosswalk so I had to clear out of his way whether I had the right to be there or not. Meanwhile, he had his earphones on… Yet if ever interviewed by a news reporter, that driver would undoubtedly put all the blame on me, the pedestrian on the smartphone who supposedly was not paying attention, when that is not at all the truth.

    I would guess that so many stories of pedestrians supposedly distracted by their phones and not paying attention are really stories like mine – where in truth the pedestrian had looked and was within the law but some driver did not want to yield appropriately and was doing an illegal behavior theirself

  • Larry Littlefield

    “Jaywalking is dangerous, slows down ambulances, and is downright rude.”

    Except when done in front of cyclists who are running green lights.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “Jaywalking is dangerous, slows down ambulances, and is downright rude.”

    Except when done in front of cyclists who are running green lights.

  • Part of what’s stupid about that quote is it doesn’t matter to ambulances if pedestrians are crossing lawfully or are “jaywalking”. Emergency vehicles drive through red lights, that’s the whole idea.

  • An app to disable the traffic signals that are the source of the problem. No signal, no speeding auto traffic, no cow fences.

  • Anonymous

    LOVE IT!!! we need more of those demonstrations..

  • Andrew

    I don’t see anything “borderline” about the behavior you describe.

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